I have a job!

I just filled out the official paperwork today and will turn it in tomorrow. I can’t believe it! I am working part time at the local children’s bookstore! I’m not sure how much they’ll need me as the owner already has a lot of help from her friends and family. She will definitely need me for the holidays though and when she’s out of town. I had my first day of training last friday and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I got to scan books into the computer system and help out customers. I had this moment when I remembered being very small and playing store with my books and my toy cash register. It was one of my favorite games. It’s weird to have come full circle like that.

I always thought I would be too shy/scared to work in a store and deal with people, but I’ve found on the rare occasions in which I have worked with the public, handling money, etc, the experience has elevated me to a state of delirious happiness. I think it’s because I feel more confident afterwards, like I could handle anything. When I expect to fail (and I usually expect to fail with most things) and I don’t I find that the fear leaves me, replaced by a sense of strength and pride because I did what I thought was impossible. Anyway, it’s odd. Maybe I don’t know myself as well as I think I do. Or maybe I just seriously underestimate myself. Ask me again in a few weeks and maybe I will despise all retail work, lol. But for now I am happy. I work in a children’s bookstore you guys! I have an income! OMG! I am surrounded by the awesomest books in the world!

Mar Portugues

Several people have asked when the new CD is coming out and I realized it’s been awhile since I wrote an update about that. Right now a friend of my dad’s is finishing the cover and then it will need to be sent to the company that actually manufactures the CD, so at this point I don’t think we’re going to make our original goal of putting it out this month. I’m going to tentatively say it will be available in October.

If anyone is curious to hear some of the final versions of the songs you can hear them on my myspace: http://www.myspace.com/shawnalenore

Please do let me know what you think of them 🙂 I’ll post another update when we have a more definite release date.

I’ve also been having a lot of trouble with my stomach and my throat lately which means we haven’t been practicing at all. I’m trying a new medicine for acid reflux to see if it helps with my throat because if I can’t sing, well, I can’t promote the CD, and yeah. It’s been stressing me out lately because I know so many people want me to keep singing and I feel as though I’m letting everyone down, especially because there’s no quick fix to this. It’s not a passing cold, but an ongoing uphill battle through fire and ice. But the thing about singing that perhaps non-singers forget is that it’s a physical, full-body activity. You can’t go to the local music shop to get your body fixed if it’s broken. Alas, otherwise I would. In a heartbeat.

Witch-white and apple bright

I finished Plain Kate by Erin Bow a few days ago. Please do yourselves a favor. Run, do not walk, to your nearest local bookstore and buy a copy. It was one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. I think it will go on my list of books I would bring to a desert island alongside The Last Unicorn, The Pedant and The Shuffly and a collection of Federico Garcia Lorca’s poetry. I don’t want to talk about my experience reading it or about how I feel after having done so because I don’t want to give anything away.

I’m feeling a bit better about my novel at the moment. Really I feel so silly wibbling about writing on the internet in front of a bunch of other writers, but it’s so important to me to get this right that sometimes I crack. I think that’s my main problem right now, that I keep thinking there’s a right way to do this and I just have to find it and everything will fall into place. But going back to what my advisor said about playing and experimenting, I realized that this is a great opportunity to try different things to see what they do. What happens if I start the story here as opposed to there? What is the effect on the reader? How does this change the feel of the story? Because it’s not about right or wrong. Not exactly. It’s about feeling my way to the story I want to write and because I’m still not sure about a lot of things I can and should be playing.

This novel in particular is difficult because I’m so emotionally attached to the original short story. But I’m not the same person I was when I wrote it. I’m not the same writer. I need to let go. I need to get to know my characters better, their pasts and their presents. I wrote today in an essay that “ultimately, the story should belong to the character and so every detail, every moment of telling should deepen the reader’s knowledge and understanding of that character.” Now I just need to follow my own advice, lol. That’s the challenge with a novel like this. I want to veer away and tell anecdotes about the different characters and the world because they’re funny. However, that does not a novel make.

I also noticed reading through some of the other things I’ve written how different the voice or tone of this novel is compared to them. It’s silly and all over the place whereas my other stories have more of a poetic fairy tale feel. They do have humor, too. Apparently I am incapable of writing without at least a little humor or irony, but they’re richer and more focused. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with silly. I enjoyed Patricia C Wrede’s Enchanted Forest books, though I’ve only read the first two. They make me laugh. They’re clever. But if you stripped away the humor there would be very little left, certainly no substance. So I’m asking myself: what kind of book do I want to write?

Of Goblins and Sketchy Come-ons

My poem “Said the Satyr to the Wood Nymph” was accepted into the Spring 2011 issue of Goblin Fruit! I’m quite pleased about this as I wrote this particular poem with them in mind. Now I just need to figure out how to do an audio recording of it that doesn’t make me flee the room. Why is it so hard to listen to one’s own recorded voice?

Someone, a very sketchy someone, sent me a message on facebook today: Just browsing. You are beautiful, the face of EAP’s Lenore. Got to say hello. Give me a reason to get back to you.

Ummm, I guess I’m supposed to feel grateful that a sketchy stranger deigned to compare me to the rare and radiant angel whom the angels name Lenore and message him back right away with torrid outpourings of my undying affection. Or not. Oh Edgar, the internet is indeed a strange place.